Saturday, July 08, 2006


Germany 3:1 Portugal

Friday, July 07, 2006

cuddlefish, trouble, barbarella

Originally uploaded by Zeeev.

Pirate update

After a local derby player is brutally attacked, the Las Vegas scene rises to the occasion.

friday random ten

Photo by Ryan McManus

Classic Edition

"Don't Lie To Me" - Big Star
"December Was a Sham" - This Microwave World
"No Key, No Plan" - Okkervil River
"Heart of Darkness" - Mission of Burma
"Heroin" - The Velvet Underground
"Lonely Side of Town" - The Ugly Beats!
"Ghost" - Neutral Milk Hotel
"Frankie's Man Johnny" - Johnny Cash
"Too Much On My Mind" - The Kinks
"Don't Cry For Me" - The Zombies

Video bonus: Spinal Tap - "Majesty of Rock"

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Washington Babylon

Vanity Fair

he corruption of Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a powerful California Republican, was, as the U.S. Attorney's Office maintains, historically "unparalleled"—an astonishing statement coming in the wake of the Abramoff scandal. A former Vietnam naval pilot who was awarded two Silver Stars and a Purple Heart, Cunningham, now 64, appropriated John Wayne's nickname and first ran for the House with the slogan "A congressman we can be proud of." Indeed, from the moment he arrived in Washington, in 1991, he made it his business to seem larger than life, telling people that his wartime heroics had inspired episodes in the movie Top Gun. His military service and expertise eventually earned him a place on the defense-appropriations subcommittee, with vast sway over the military budget, as well as on the intelligence committee, which oversees the C.I.A. and other spy agencies. Ever ready to defend the integrity of the armed forces, as he saw it, Duke excoriated Democrats who wanted to cut the defense budget, calling them the same people "who would put homos in the military."


In March, Cunningham was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison—the harshest sentence ever received by an ex-congressman for corruption. But the investigations are far from over, and allegations continue to surface implicating other legislators and government officials. California Republican congressman Jerry Lewis, head of the House committee on appropriations, is currently being investigated. So is Wilkes's best friend from high-school days, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, who was until recently No. 3 at the C.I.A., and who is alleged to have accepted lavish favors from Wilkes—a trip to a Honolulu estate, for instance, renting for $50,000 per week—in exchange for arranging lucrative C.I.A. contracts for his friend. (Wilkes, Lewis, and Foggo have denied any wrongdoing.) Republican congresswoman and senatorial candidate Katherine Harris, of Florida, a source familiar with her activities tells me, is also being scrutinized for her dealings with Wade—in particular, for receiving $32,000 in illegal campaign donations, and for a lavish dinner she enjoyed last year for which he paid more than $3,300. (Harris says that she did not know the donations were illegal and has since given the money to charity.) In addition, Wade, who is cooperating with the authorities, has told the F.B.I. that Wilkes kept hospitality suites in the Watergate Hotel and Westin Grand in order to entertain legislators and government officials with evenings of poker, cigars, and, on occasion, for Cunningham, prostitutes.

Tens of thousands of pages of congressional documents going as far back as 1997 have been demanded by the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Diego. The C.I.A., Pentagon, I.R.S., and F.B.I. are conducting investigations, and at least three congressional committees are cooperating in hopelessly tardy fashion. "We are scrubbing" is how a staffer on the intelligence committee puts it. Washington is unraveling.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

wednesday morning reads

Billmon - A House Divided

Seymour Hersh

Inside the Pentagon, senior commanders have increasingly challenged the President’s plans, according to active-duty and retired officers and officials. The generals and admirals have told the Administration that the bombing campaign will probably not succeed in destroying Iran’s nuclear program. They have also warned that an attack could lead to serious economic, political, and military consequences for the United States.

A crucial issue in the military’s dissent, the officers said, is the fact that American and European intelligence agencies have not found specific evidence of clandestine activities or hidden facilities; the war planners are not sure what to hit. “The target array in Iran is huge, but it’s amorphous,” a high-ranking general told me. “The question we face is, When does innocent infrastructure evolve into something nefarious?” The high-ranking general added that the military’s experience in Iraq, where intelligence on weapons of mass destruction was deeply flawed, has affected its approach to Iran. “We built this big monster with Iraq, and there was nothing there. This is son of Iraq,” he said.

Murray Waas
President Bush told the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case that he directed Vice President Dick Cheney to personally lead an effort to counter allegations made by former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV that his administration had misrepresented intelligence information to make the case to go to war with Iraq, according to people familiar with the president's statement.

Bush also told federal prosecutors during his June 24, 2004, interview in the Oval Office that he had directed Cheney, as part of that broader effort, to disclose highly classified intelligence information that would not only defend his administration but also discredit Wilson, the sources said.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday

Freedom of Information Act